Fact-check: NAB prosecutor was appointed during PTI’s term, not PM Shehbaz’s

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2022-09-22 17:38:00

A representational image of a fact-check. — Reuters/File

A rival politician has accused Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif of appointing the state prosecutor in a case of graft against his own niece, Maryam Nawaz Sharif. The claim is false.

Claim

On September 20, Fawad Hussain Chaudhry, a senior leader of the PTI and the former minister for information, tweeted that as the Islamabad High Court was hearing a corruption case against politician Maryam Nawaz Sharif, the prosecutor assigned by the prime minister was confused regarding which side he was presenting, the NAB or the accused.

The prosecutor in question is Barrister Usman Rasheed Cheema.

The tweet has been retweeted over 10,000 times and liked over 26,000 times.

Fact

Barrister Usman Rasheed Cheema was appointed as a prosecutor of the anti-corruption body in 2020, during the tenure of Chaudhry’s own political party, the PTI.

Initially, the lawyer represented the NAB in a case of money laundering against Shehbaz Sharif and his family.

Then in July 2021, Cheema was appointed lead counsel and the head of a five-member prosecution team by NAB to counter an appeal filed by Maryam Sharif against her conviction in the Avenfield apartments case, as per a notification seen by Geo Fact Check.

Cheema has been retained as counsel in the case. Neither has he been de-notified nor reappointed since 2020.

Fawad Chaudhry’s claim that Shehbaz assigned Barrister Cheema is incorrect.

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